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Old March 28th 08, 09:46 PM posted to
Klystron Klystron is offline
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First recorded activity by RadioBanter: Jun 2007
Posts: 50
Default WPM to BPS calculation

(Dave Platt) wrote:

I hope you'll pardon me when I ask "Which deity spoke to you and laid
down those particular points of Absolute Truth?". What's all this "We
need to" and "no more and no less" and "xxx is better" and "yyy is
inferior" and "... is also considered better"?

If you're willing to state those as _your_ personal opinions of the
basis on which two partially-competing methods of encoding and
communicating _should_ be compared (and that no other criteria need
apply), I have no objection at all.

I do, however, object in principle to the idea that these are the
highest (or only) criteria, or that they're somehow sacred.

I think of them as matters of economics and practical reality. To
wit: it should be obvious that we cannot have every possible mode
available on every band. Some limits must be imposed on the number of
modes and the way in which they share limited bandwidth. This is one of
the reasons why the FCC exists. This is one of the (ostensible) reasons
why digital modes were not allowed for many years.

And, I also object to the idea (which I think is implied by the tone
of your other messages - please correct me if I'm wrong) that the
choice of communication methods is somehow exclusive... that the fact
that a method which is superior (by your criteria, perhaps) means that
other methods that you find inferior should be wiped out or
abandoned... or that people who prefer to use the other methods are
somehow responsible for Holding Back The True Progress.

My own perspective is that people may have *many* criteria for chosing
a means of communication (by radio or otherwise). Bandwidth, or
bandwidth*reliability is not the sole criterion that people use, in
practice, nor do I think there's any reason that it should be. Life
is full of tradeoffs between different criteria - information
bandwidth per Hz of spectrum, robustness of encoding, suitability for
multi-point communication, resistance to different sorts of
interference, cost of equipment, availability of equipment, and so
forth. I communicate with my wife by voice, by email, by telephone,
by scribbling half-illegible notes on scraps of paper, and by bringing
home flowers... different methods, for different types of information-
passing under varying conditions.

Again, if you can't fit every possible mode onto a given band (by the
way, every possible mode means exactly that, not just modes that are
commonly used by hams - otherwise, we would have APCO 25, in addition to
DV, to give just one example). Therefore, we must prioritize; some modes
will be authorized, while some other modes will be excluded. This goes
back to my claim that it is a matter of economics; it represents a
managed resource (a limited "supply") in the face of potentially
unlimited demand. It is from that perspective that I claim that old time
Morse zealots are impeding progress and are attempting to arrogate to
themselves a finite public good, much like cattlemen grazing their cows
on public grasslands while excluding others from using those public
lands for other purposes.

In commercial communications and public-safety, bandwidth (or payload)
and reliability and cost all play a big factor. In military
communications, reliability and security seem big, bandwidth is
important, and cost (of equipment at least) tends to take a back seat.

Ham radio is a much more diverse motivation-space. Some people
optimize their operations as for public safety and commercial (the
EMCOM folks), others for "most distance per watt" or "per dollar spent
on the radio" (QRP folks, homebrewers, and other experimenters),
others for portability, others for plain ordinary fun (according to
their own definition of fun... for some folks, using single-frequency
crystal-oscillator transmitters is just what gets their rocks off :-)

There's plenty of room in ham radio for different modes of operation.
Saying that we all *have* to abandon Morse (or SSB, or voice, or AM,
or...) and strap computers to all of our rigs, in order to encourage
experimentation and use with newer modes, is really missing the
point... it's implicitly denying a large percentage of hams the right
to explore those aspects of ham radio that *they* find interesting and

If we were all being paid to do all of this stuff, then the people
paying us would perhaps have the right to set our agendas. We aren't
(and by the rules of the game, cannot be... at least, not here in the
US) and so we get to set our own priorities, operating-mode and

Considering the small, aggregate size of the HF bands, can you offer
some suggestions as to how many modes can plausibly 'share the road?'
What modes must be forbidden so that the modes that you like can be
allowed? If you say that there are none, then perhaps we can have APCO
25, DV and DD on HF? What do you say to the hams who claim that AM
shouldn't be used on HF, because it uses to much bandwidth?

[And, for the record - I operate CW only rarely, and have enjoyed
experimenting with packet and the newer digital modes quite a bit.]